Sociological and Social Work Practice: Implications for Humanitarian Work with Refugees in Resettlement
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As ethnocultural groups, refugees encounter host societies in mutual processes of accommodation (Balgopal, 2000; Berry, 2001). We have previously attested to the abrupt changes in refugee lives, the feeling of being unsettled in displacement and transition to new worlds and new demands, and the complexities of “refugeeness”1 for individuals and families as they begin their lives anew. The interaction of refugee characteristics and features of the host society continues to be worthy of consideration as we ask the broad question, “What should the humanitarian response be once refugees are resettled in a community?” We suggest that current refugee policy is in itself an insufficient humanitarian response at the community level as refugees join and mix with the host society. Accommodations made by institutional structures of the community are important barometers of acceptance and integration of different cultural groups. Programs and services designed to assist resettlement efforts reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the host society toward newcomers.
KeywordsMental Health Provider Host Community Host Society Refugee Child Social Work Practice
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